Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Midweek Munchies (Plant Nation edition)

It's the midweek, so time for a day appropriate midweek munchies, with a Boo update at the end! This week I am highlighting a couple of Plant Nation products. Plant Nation is a brand I have seen in IGA. Not all of their products are vegan, a couple are just vegetarian, but all of them a gluten free. I got some on clearance, my favourite way to try!

First up, the Parsley & Thyme Beef Style Burgers. These fried up fairly well. They were meaty without being too meaty. The texture was OK, but they definitely needed more seasoning. I'd buy them again, but only on a decent clearance sale.

Parlsey and Thyme Plant Nation Burgers


Parlsey and Thyme Plant Nation Burgers


I made two different burgers with them. The first one was just mayo, spinach, tomato, and BBQ sauce. I wanted to see what the flavour of the burger was like. The second one was a more traditional cheese burger. I had used some of that gross Coles Natures Kitchen cheese that was in my last post, as you can see, it wilted but it didn't really melt. I also had some ketchup and some gherkin relish on it.

Parlsey and Thyme Plant Nation Burgers


Plant Nation Burger with aioli, ketchup, shitty Coles cheese, and gerkhin relish


The other product I tried was the Roasted Chicken Style Sausages. I was pretty excited to try a chicken-style sausage. But unfortunately, these tasted like nothing, They also had that vegan casing on them, always kind of goes a bit gross when you fry them. I served them seasoned roasted potato and peas, with some gravy added after this photo was taken. I wouldn't buy these again, even on clearance.

Plant Nation Roasted Chicken Sausages


Plant Nation Roasted Chicken Sausages


Plant Nation Roasted Chicken Sausages


So not a stellar showing for this brand. The other two vegan products they have are Italian Herb Chicken Style Burgers and Tomato & Cracked Pepper Beef Style Sausages. I might try the beef style sausages if they were on a good clearance, because I would hope they had an interesting flavour.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Boo


This is Boo snuggled up in her collapsible cage, which I am using to help keep her rested so she doesn't run around and ruin her sutures! She is not lying in her litter, don't worry! That is a clean tray with a blanket in it, she likes to sleep in a little nest. We have some results back! At least for the intestinal thickening. It came back as inflammatory bowel disease, not cancer. This is good that there is no cancer! Though IBD can still be a serious condition that will will need to manage for the rest of her life. We are still waiting on some more blood tests results to work out her high calcium. Thank you for all your kind thoughts!

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Midweek Munchies

Hello friends! I had some life stuff, see below for more details, so even though it is Sunday I felt like doing an easy blog post by hitting you all up with another midweek munchies!

Veef, beloved creator of some of the best vegan burger patties, has expanded their range. They brought out their chicken burgers, which are the best chicken burger, and they also brought out some bacon bits. I was excited to try them! They are not the most practical though, being all frozen together in a lump. You cannot really just use them a little bit at a time. They are the sort that you need to thaw and then fry up. The taste is great though. I used half of the packed for a mac and cheese recipe (posted about here), and the other half to make the Veggie Fried Rice recipe off the Veef website. I used jasmine rice for my rice, and changed up the veggies a bit. Of course I nixed the capsicum, and used celery. I also didn't use any onion, but I sauteed my scallions with the garlic because my tummy doesn't like them raw. I added some baby spinach and fresh coriander as well. This was a tasty recipe! Though it is cute that it says four serves, because it was two serves.

Veef Bacon Bits


Veef Veggie Fried Rice from Veef Website


A while ago I heard about Alg, an Australian seaweed company, that was launching seaweed chocolate. You know I like silly things, so I had to preorder some! It was flat rate shipping, so I also got some of their seaweed snack bars and seaweed seasonings.

Alg


I'll post more about each product as I try it, but I of course had to crack into the raspberry seaweed chocolate immediately. And you know what?? IT WAS GREAT!!! I am very glad I got two blocks of it, as well as a block of the regular seaweed one. Stay tuned for future reviews!

Alg


As the supermarkets try and create more and more of their own vegan products, there will be some hits and some misses. Coles Nature's Kitchen Cheddar Slices are a huge miss. These are like shitty vegan cheeses of ye oldy times. They are tastely, plastic, and rubbery. They don't really melt properly (instead just turn more rubbery), and they go mouldy super fast. Do not recommend.

Nature's Kitchen Cheddar Slices


The first thing I did was make a toasted sandwich with Tofurky Ham slices. Oh, terrible cheese, you hurt me. This is making me even sadder looking at this photo now, as I have just learned that Tofuky is no longer shipping to Australia due to their own local COVID shortage issues. So this precious ham was dishonoured by being paired with a truly tragic cheese.

Ham and Cheese Toasted Sandwich


Onto some better days, with these fun Natural Confectionary Co Vegan Fruity Flavoured Jellies! I am not a big lolly person, but I am partial to a fruity gummy treat every now and then. These came in five flavours (raspberry, apple, peach, grape, and pineapple) and they were really good! Plus available in almost all supermarkets, so very accessible. They are frequently on half price sale as well.

Vegan Gummy Fruits


I am not too proud to say that sometimes I just need the convenience of a package of microwave rice. Even with a rice cooker, sometimes I just need something that will take 90 seconds. Lately, there have been more and more flavoured microwave rice options available. This Brown Rice Pilau was so easy and had a lovely flavour, I would definitely buy it again. I used it in combination with another recipe, which you can see here.

Seeds of Change Pilau Rice


Finally, some jerky! KM Foods makes some pretty tasty jerky. I love their Teriyaki one! This new Fake NBacon flavour is also pretty great. It has a lovely savoury smoky flavour to it. This is a local company (in fact, they regularly have stalls at vegan markets in QLD), so it is great to see such a great product being made so close to me!

Fake NBacon Jerky


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Boo


What was that life stuff I mentioned? That life stuff was Boo! Last week I took Boo in for a check up and some bloods, and it was noticed that she'd lost some weight. Her bloods came back with high calcium. High calcium on regular bloods isn't all that specific, it needs to be followed up with another test for ionised calcium. If that is high, then that can be caused by all kinds of things! The most common cause in cats is idiopathic (cat's love to be weird for no discernable reason), but you have to rule out all the other stuff first. Her ionised calcium was also high, so on Tuesday afternoon she had some fancy blood tests taken (that take a few weeks to get results back from), chest x-rays, and an abdominal ultrasound. Her ultrasound showed she had some significantly thickened intestines, so on Thursday she had a exploratory laparotomy to have a look around and take biopsies... results of those should be back tomorrow. She came home yesterday, but Boo related thoughts and things have been taking up a lot of my time! This is a photo of her not long after waking up from surgery, wearing a very big cone because she had previously chomped her way through her IV line so we were making sure to keep her teethies away from her current IV line and her stitches!

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Midweek Munchies

Today I am kicking us off with the Field Roast meatloaf. This had been kicking around in my freezer for ages, and I was excited to finally get a chance to use it! I used it in three ways, the first of which was as a side to a recipe that will be turning up in a future recipe round-up. But I also figured I should make it those two classic meatloaf ways...

Field Roast Meat Loaf


First up, meatloaf and mash with gravy! I tried out this new Coles Vegan Gravy, that you just heat up and it is ready to serve. This gravy is not good. It had this weird almost metallic taste? Why so hard to make good gravy? Do gravy makers know what gravy tastes like? Anyway, this subpar gravy was dolloped over pan-fried slices of meatloaf, mashed potato, and green beans.

Coles Vegan Gravy


FR meatloaf, Coles Vegan Gravy, mash, beans


I also made a meatloaf sandwich, which had mayo, ketchup, and spinach. The meatloaf itself is very heavy, a bit too heavy for my stomach, so I don't think I would get it again. The flavour is good though.

FR Meatloaf Sandwich


Coles brough out some vegan pies, and I love a pie! They have two flavours, but so far I have tried the Cheesy Cauliflower one. The pastry on these was very thick and not very flaky, but the filling was nice. They also have a mushroom one I will eventually try. Though the weather is heating up here so it may not be for some time.

Nature's Kitchen Cheesy Cauliflower Pie


This is a very funny quick lunch I made one day after I found some portobello mushrooms on super clearance sale. Sauteed mushrooms with spinach and crinkle chips, all covered in ketchup, It was very satisfying. I love sauteed mushrooms and chips.

Spinach, Portabello, Fries, Ketchup


The Vegan Grocery Store (previously The Cruelty Free Shop) had a free shipping day a while ago, so I had to put in an order of random things. Here are my random things, including some very sensible vitamins. I was super excited about the oat condensed milk, until I got it and realised it is still full of coconut oil. Alas! But as for the rest of the things, they will be turning up in future munchies posts as I try them.

Vegan Grocery Store Order


Praise mayo has always had some accidentally vegan options, but they brought out a few specifically vegan ones. I've never been a fan of their accidentally vegan mayo (too sweet), so I wasn't in a rush to try their vegan specific ones (which are double the cost). But I found this on super clearance and thought I would give it a go. It pretty much tasted like their accidentally vegan one, I could barely taste any garlic, so glad I didn't spend much on it.

Praise Vegan Aioli


Finally, some savoury oatmeal I made to use up some extra bits. I had some tomato broth left over from another recipe that I used as the base of the oats, which a little bit of oat milk for creamth and nutritional yeast because always. Topped it with some roasted broccoli and fennel (which I needed to also use up), and then a mediterranean chickpea crunch salad topper.

Savoury oatmeal


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Abby


Abby is always ready to remind you that she is extremely cute.

Monday, 13 September 2021

Eating Out: Gold Coast Vegan Markets

I've posted about the Brisbane Vegan Markets several times before, but this is a post about the Gold Coast ones! I haven't been to the Brisbane ones in a long time. Even before COVID, but now since COVID the venue is very narrow and cramped, I don't know that I'd feel safe there. The Gold Coast ones have been running for quite a long time, though I have never gone down there. But I had the opportunity to go down for their August markets (that had been delayed a couple of weeks due to a lockdown). The markets there are in the carpark for a school, and there is lots and lots of space and the seating is nicely spread out throughout the school itself (some undercover), so it seemed like a good choice.

I headed down with my friend, who had been to one previously. It was a bit under an hour away from my house, and we got there right on opening (at 9am) so we could be home before it got too hot and sunny. My friend had been once before, and mentioned that there weren't as many stalls as last time. I certainly noticed the lack of a lot of the animal rescue stalls as well as some food stalls, which was sad. But there was still lots to choose from.

We knew exactly where we were going first, and made a beeline for the Grassfed food truck for their market special, Loaded Mac and Cheese Fries. Yes, you read that right. Their seasoned curly fries topped with mac and cheese and bacon. You guys, this was SO GOOD! The cheese sauce for the mac and cheese was made by Fine Cultures, a local vegan cheesemaker, and was delicious. The only issue was the serves were HUGE. We got one each, and even though we had to sacrifice some of our chips to the bin gods in the hope that we could eat more food, we were very full.

Mac and Cheese Loaded Fries from Grassfed at Gold Coast Vegan Markets


Photo of a cheeky magpie friend, who helped themselves to some mac and cheese right out of my friend's bowl! The audacity!

Cheeky Magpie at Gold Coast Vegan Markets


I was feeling a bit thirsty, so I got a Grapefruit Iced Tea from Iced Tea Co. I love this flavour, it is caffeine free and is a little sweet but a little tart and very refreshing!

Grapefruit Iced Tea from Iced Tea Co at Gold Coast Vegan Markets


I was excited to try Izakaya Midori's marked special, the Gyu Don bowl. Veef and onions in a sweet soy sauce over brown rice with pickles. This also came as a very substantial serving! It was delicious, but I could only eat half after those loaded fries. But I always come prepared and I had a takeaway container to put the rest into to take home.

Gyu Buri from Izakaya Midori at Gold Coast Vegan Markets


After that... we were kind of done. All full. Such market amateurs, but to be fair we were out of practice. Normally I would have tried to eat more from more stalls, but I was just full full full. I didn't even get any sweets to take home... And I couldn't even thing about getting some of the pizza I was really excited to try. Alas.

But I did get half a Karaage, cream cheese, and avocado sushi burrito to take home from Izakaya Midori for a small later lunch. And it was delicious!

Karaage Sushi Burrito from Izakaya Midori at Gold Coast Vegan Markets


I definitely would love to try the Gold Coast Vegan Markets again, though it probably won't be until the cooler months come back because it is SUNNY and HOT... so maybe in about 9 months? But I'd be more inclined to go back there rather than to the more cramped Brisbane vegan markets, even though it is a bit of a drive. And I will take some bowls so I can COVID-safely share things with friends so we can try more food, and containers to bring extras back! I will not be defeated again.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Boo


A sleepy little Boo for you, snoozing away on top of her cat scratcher in the sun room, basking in the glow.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Father's Day

It was Father's Day last Sunday, and as always I made my dad a dinner of his choosing. This time he wanted to go back to his old favourite, Indian, and requested some sort of pumpkin curry with a vegan meat and also some Indian sweets. I decided to head online to the one and only Vegan Richa to look up some delicious vegan Indian food.

Pumpkin Curry: This curry hit the brief, with pumpkin puree used in the sauce (I used homemade butternut puree) and also butternut added to the curry itself. The curry is meant to be made with chickpeas, but I tried out some of the new Bird's Eye Plant Based Chicken-Style Strips. I decreased the amount of curry powder in it and used a mild version. For the vegetables I used butternut squash, zucchini, peas, and mushrooms, and I added some extra spinach. Instead of adding the chicken-style strips at the same time as you were meant to add the chickpeas, I had previously sauteed them to brown and I added them back at the end. I served this over basmati rice and with some mango chutney. Find the recipe here

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Curry from Vegan Richa


As for those Bird's Eye strips, these are them! Bird's eye recently released a range of plant based meats in the freezer section. These are soy protein based, and have no coconut oil! I really liked them, they have a good flavout and a good texture. Maybe just a titch oily. But so good once sauteed up. You could use these in all kinds of things!

Bird's Eye Plant Based Chicken Strips


Bird's Eye Plant Based Chicken Strips


I also made a couple of Indian sweets. I made these the day before so that they had plenty of time to set, and because they were a bit fiddly. So it made the day of nice and easy, I just had to make the curry and then dessert was ready and waiting in the fridge.

Malai Ladoo (Cardamom Cream Fudge Balls): These delicious balls use cream cheese to help make them wonderfully creamy. I used Tofutti, still my favourite vegan cream cheese! At least of those that are available here in Australia. I realised that I hadn't really noted that it called for fine almond flour instead of meal, so mine were not quite as smooth. I used only ground cardamom. These have a lovely flavour, they are sweet and creamy without being too sweet. I did find them to be very soft and sticky though, I imagine the almond flour would have absorbed a bit more. But they still were lovely. Find the recipe here.

Mango Burfi (Mango Fudge Bars): These are very easy to make, and they set up really well. Because it is not mango season here, I used some tinned mango that I pureed up. The flavour was not quite as strong as it would be with fresh (or frozen, for that matter), and the mango was quite fibrous. I used some almond meal instead of grinding cashews, really just for ease, and for the same reason I used oat flour rather than grinding oats. I chose cardamom as my spice, to keep the theme going. You can find the recipe for these here

I served my sweets on a plate with some fresh strawberries, which made for a lovely after dinner selection!

Vegan Malai Ladoo and Vegan Mango Burfi from Vegan Richa


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo


I've been feeling super sad and missing my girls so much lately, so here is my Gizmo. She was the first to leave me. I know I have other cats in my life now, but I will never stop wishing my girls and I could be back together.

Friday, 10 September 2021

Recipe Round-Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

Another little mini round up from 1000 Vegan Recipes from Robin Robertson. See the previous posts about this book here.

Savory Beans and Rice: These are savory both in that they are not sweet, but also the contained the dried savory herb. It was not a herb I was familiar with, but I chanced upon it at a deli one day so had to buy it as I knew it showed up in some of my cookbooks. This is a pretty simple dish of brown basmati rice and white beans, mixed with nutritional yeast and savory. I needed to cook for an extra 10 minutes for the rice to cook when I made it on a stove (these days I'd just make it in the rice cooker). Excellent with some extra nutritional yeast, and served over greens.
Rating: :)

Savory Beans and Rice


Polenta with Spicy Tomato Ragu: This uses the basic polenta recipe in the book as a base, and then tops it with a mushroom and marinara sauce based ragu. It is not super filling, but is very comforting. I had some leftovers of both, so I chilled the polenta into a round, fried it, and topped it with some leftover ragu that I had added some lentils to for a second meal another day.
Rating: :)

Poletna with Spicy Tomato Ragu


Polenta with Spicy Tomato Ragu


Cajun-Style Tofu: Tofu is sliced and seasoned with cajun seasoning, then pan fried. It is topped with a sauce based on tomatoes, celery, green onion, and it should have green capsicum but I just left that out. It has some nice flavours, and is good served over rice with a salad.
Rating: :)

Cajun-Style Tofu


Thai-Phoon Stir-Fry: This is diced tofu, pan fried, in a peanut butter based sauce with mushrooms and spinach. It is very saucy, which I am not complaining about, though the sauce could have used a little bit of lime in it to really make the flavours work best. This would also have been better with some extra vegetables added, I think broccoli and carrot would be great. It is garnished with thai basil, shredded coconut, and peanuts.
Rating: :)

Thai-Phoon Stir-Fry


(% 1000 Vegan Recipes blogged: 32.3%)

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara


My sweetest Sahara. Boo reminds me a bit of Sahara just in the way she explores and interacts with the world, though without Sahara's common sense and she is not as snuggly as Sahara was. So I've been thinking about Sahara a lot lately. Not that I ever don't think about her.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Midweek Munchies

After all that being out and about, let's bring things back home with some midweek munchies!

I have mentioned eating Black Lemonade cookies that I have bought from cafes before, but they also sell baking mixes. And I have a bronie mix and a cookie mix. I am not normally one for buying mixes, normally I make everything from scratch. But I love their cookies and supporting a small local business is cool so I am looking forward to trying these out.

Black Lemonade baking mixes


Coles has brought out a couple of new vegan baked items under their Nature's Kitchen range. They are both gluten free. I could definitely tell that in the cookies, which had a sort of weird gritty texture to them. I wouldn't buy them again. The cupcakes had a slight hint of gluten free about them, but were otherwise not bad. The icing was not too sweet, which was good.

Nature's Kitchen GF Vegan Cupcakes and Chocolate Chip Cookies


I went to my friend Amy's house one afternoon after work (yes, the same Amy from the last two posts) so that we could make dumplings. We made a bunch, ate some, and then there were loads leftover so I got a couple of bags to take home. They had TVP and mushroom filling. I had never made dumplings before, so my folding was a bit messy, but it was fun. We chatted and watched Taylor Swift's Reputation Tour on Netflix. It was a good time.

Amy's Dumplings


A using things up toasted sandwich, this had some turmeric kraut, Cheatin' Chicken slices, and Sheese slices.

Cheatin' Chicken, Turmeric Kraut, and Sheese toasty


A friend posted about these Mixed Tarts being randomly vegan on their IG, so my next trip to Woolworths I had to get them! They are filled with either raspberry jam or tart lemon. My friend was fancy and made an aquafaba meringe to put on top, which would be amazing! I was basic and just ate them straight out of the packet.

Woolworths Mixed Tarts


Burger night trying out these Coles Nature's Kitchen burgers. I bought them on clearance, as they had coconut oil in them and I didn't want to pay a lot for something that I might not be able to eat. Turns out the coconut oil wasn't the problem. The problem with these is that they taste like nothing. Big thick slabs of nothing. Ugh. I served them on my favourite Fry's Brioche buns with some cheese, tomato, spinach, mayo, and BBQ sauce.

Nature's Kitchen Burgers


Nature's Kitchen Burgers


PiquBoo! I found this new to me type of pear in the shops. They look so cute and rosy. But they were super expensive, so I just bought one. Also a good idea, as they were fairly meh as far as pears go. They flavour was just a bit watery.

PiqaBoo pear


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the cat max


Not a day goes by where my heart doesn't ache for Dim Sim. I miss her so much.